ST: Chelsea kicked off the season with a hard fought 2-1 win over Hull City. Hull took the lead through new signing Steven Hunt only for Didier Drogba to score a brace, including the winner late on, to give Carlo Ancelotti a winning start at home. The win proves the Blues’ desire to win matches late on and despite missing a host of chances and Hull defending doggedly, the quality upfront gave Chelsea all three points and stake a claim to the season’s title race.
Two of the three new boys, Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers have already found out the reality of Premier League life. Burnley were given a hard lesson as they were outrun by an impressive Stoke City. Tony Pulis has put in a very hard-working side that will be immensely competitive at the Brittania stadium just like last season.
Manchester City provided a winning start for Mark Hughes at his old club Blackburn. Stephen Ireland settled City nerves by finishing off coolly to give the Eastlands club a deserved 2-0 win. Is this the sign of a great side and great season? Only time will tell but certainly a foot on the right direction.
Gianfranco Zola would be happy that he passed a tricky test at Molineux as West Ham won 2-0 at Wolves, but the biggest loser of the day as of now are Aston Villa. The highly-rated Midlands side has gone down 2-0 at home to Wigan Athletic in Roberto Martinez’s first match in charge and this does not bode well for Villa but don’t write off a warrior in the form of Irishman Martin O Neil. Trouble for Portsmouth as problems off the field have encroached on to it as Fulham came away with all three points. Roy Hodgson could have a stable season but the signs for Pompey look ominous.
MJ: Opening day Premier League full-time scores: Aston Villa 0 Wigan 2 (Rodallega, Koumas); Blackburn 0 Man City 2 (Adebayor, Ireland); Bolton 0 Sunderland 1 (Bent); Chelsea 2 (Drogba 2) Hull 1 (Hunt); Portsmouth 0 Fulham 1 (Zamora); Stoke 2 (Shawcross, Jordan og) Burnley 0; Wolves 0 West Ham 2 (Noble, Upson).
MJ: GOAL! Blackburn 0 Man City 2 – You can’t buy a feeling like that. Stephen Ireland doubles City’s money with a well-taken second goal. Very impressive stuff.
MJ: City holding firm at Ewood Park. Who needs John Terry?
MJ: The second halves aren’t proving as action packed as the firsts were (lack of fitness perhaps?) but in Championship news, Tuncay has put Middlesbrough 3-0 up at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium. The Turk will be coming to a Premier League ground near you soon.
MJ: Wigan are totally dominating at Villa Park. O’Neill needs some new signings, and fast. Look out for Wigan’s Jordi Gomez this season, fantastic for Swansea last year and on form here.
MJ: Dave Kitson (remember him?) is on for James Beattie at the Brittania, and he’s just hit the bar. Burnley want the full-time whistle now.
MJ: I can see them in top half to be honest, but I have been wrong before…
ST: Sunderland will be alright this season Mark. Steve Bruce is an experienced campaigner and he knows how to steer smaller sides to safety and in Darren Bent they have a player whose goals would be critical come end of the season! I guess a 14th or 15th would be ideal for the Northeast side.
MJ: GOAL! Wolves 0 West Ham 2 – Mick McCarthy will not be a happy bunny. His side were getting back into it but Matthew Upson has just lost his marker and headed home the softest of goals from a corner. The culprit? Jody Craddock. Might be best to avoid Mick at full-time, Jody.
MJ: You’ll get used to this sight during the season. One Man City striker has been replaced by another. Robinho skulks off and on comes Carlos Tevez. Man Utd fans look away now.
ST: Mark I had a feeling Villa would struggle this season given the departure of Gareth Barry during the close season. Then the expectations are too high for Martin O’Neill yet there have been very few notable signings to replace a player like Barry. But then good luck!
MJ: Sylvain Ebanks-Blake vs. Robert Green at Molineux. The Wolves striker is clean through but England’s Green keeps him out. Wolves’ new signing Nenad Milijas is running this game.
MJ: GOAL! Aston Villa 0 Wigan 2 – The Martinez revolution is in full swing. A cool finish from Welshman Jason Koumas makes it a Wigan wonderland at Villa Park. What’s gone wrong with Villa?
MJ: Sunderland are looking impressive at Bolton, with the Trotters probably struggling due to that awful home shirt they are being made to wear this season. That’s not Steve Bruce’s problem though, and with a strikeforce of goalscorer Bent and powerhouse Kenwyne Jones (no relation) this could be the start of great things on Wearside. Where do you think they could finish Sunit?
MJ: Oh to have been a fly on the wall in that Wolves dressing room at half-time. Mick McCarthy has sent out his troops after a severe tea-cup throwing session, and they’ve responded. New boy Milijas goes close, so does Craddock, and then Milijas again. Should be a good second half.
MJ: ‘Peep peep!’ Second halves are underway…
ST: It’s half-time and already there is a goal in every Premier League game so far. Newly promoted Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers are being provided with timely reminders that Premier League football is a different kettle of fish compared to the Championship as they trail 2-0 and 1-0 to Stoke City and West Ham United respectively.
Mark Hughes’ ‘Bank of England’ club Manchester City raced to a 1-0 lead over Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers through debutant Emmanuel Adebayor but the home side have found their feet and this could still turn out to be a close game. Wigan Athletic’s new manager Roberto Martinez would enjoy his first Premier League half time as Hugo Rodallega’s stunning strike separates the two sides at Villa Park. Martin O’ Neal needs to do some talking at the break to make the fans believe that there is life after Gareth Barry.
Darren Bent is another debutant that has scored as Sunderland lead Bolton 1-0 at the Reebok as Fulham is piling on the pressure on Portsmouth through a twelfth minute Bobby Zamora goal. Plenty of goals but no real talking points as we get used to the teams that would entertain us throughout the season. Hope there is a ray of light for Burnley and Wolves at the end of the day.
MJ: Premier League half-time scores: Aston Villa 0 Wigan 1 (sorry steve), Blackburn 0 Man City 1, Bolton 0 Sunderland 1, Portsmouth 0 Fulham 1, Stoke 2 Burnley 0, Wolves 0 West Ham 1, and in case you missed it, Didier Drogba’s brace earned Chelsea a 2-1 win over Hull. His second goal was a cross, I don’t care what he says.
MJ: Half-time at Ewood and a beaming smile from Adebayor as he leaves the pitch. Are you watching Arsene?
MJ: Clarke Carlisle’s goal-line clearance saves Burnley from further embarrassment as Ricardo Fuller goes close. Owen Coyle shakes his head and ponders just why he didn’t take the Celtic job.
MJ: OWN GOAL! Stoke 2 Burnley 0 – Oh dear oh dear Burnley. Thirty-three years of waiting for a top-flight game and it’s going very badly. Stephen Jordan puts through his own net to double Stoke’s lead.
ST: This is just the start! Roberto Martinez is a very good coach! We all know what he did for Swansea.
MJ: GOAL! Aston Villa 0 Wigan 1 – Rodallega scores a stunning goal to silence Villa Park.That was a contender for the best strike of the season so far. What do you mean it’s only the opening day?!
ST: Reality checks for both Wolves and Burnley already:)
ST: Shay Given makes a great save from Chris Samba! The tall Congolese will cause problems at the City back from set pieces.
MJ: GOAL! Wolves 0 West Ham 1. Welcome back to the Premier League Mick McCarthy. Mark Noble (a future England star?) curls in a stunning effort at Molineux.
MJ: What a start eh Sunit? Goals all over the place. The Premier League is back!